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  • The Voter Formation Project

Navigating a New Ad Landscape

Hey y’all! Happy Friday.

As always, we’re glad to have you with us. Today, we’re going to talk about something that we think is going to be a pretty big deal this cycle: changes in ad targeting.

With the launch of the iOS 14 software update earlier this year, Apple really shook up the way advertisers are able to reach their audiences. iOS 14 gave Apple users (who, for the record, make up about half of all smartphone users globally) the ability to opt-out of sharing their data and mobile activity with any given app. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve probably seen the prompts yourself:

(Apple, Inc.)

In a lot of ways, this change is *really* good for users: it gives us more control over our own data and over who we let have access to it. But for advertisers - including groups doing voter registration and turnout work, like VFP, who “advertise” to potential voters - being unable to rely on user data makes it a lot harder to accurately target our audiences.

To make things even more complicated, this week, Facebook announced a pretty big change to how advertisers can target users on their platform. Starting next year, advertisers (again, including groups like VFP) will no longer be able to use a feature called “detailed targeting”, which had historically allowed us to target users based on characteristics like race, ethnicity, and political affiliation. Instead, we'll have to rely on much broader categories like gender, age, and location - categories that, generally, don't tell us all that much about who we're actually reaching.

And again, in a lot of ways, this change is a really big win for user privacy. But, again, it makes it *really* hard for us to reach the audience that we're interested in getting a message out to.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and it definitely doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying. The Voter Formation Project will always do everything in our power to make our country’s electorate look more like the people that live here, even if now, we have to get a little bit more

creative to reach that goal.

We promise, we’re not afraid of a challenge.

Thanks for reading, y’all! Talk soon.

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